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  • May Announcement Set for Second European Games Host -- On the Scene


    A sign promotes the 2015 European Games at the Baku airport. (ATR)
    (ATR) Russian and Turkish cities are thought to be among the six bidders for the 2019 edition with the EOC confirming it will decide a host in May.

    The announcement on the timetable followed a meeting of the EOC executive committee in Baku Thursday. Negotiations are continuing with the six cities vying to stage the second edition of the multisports event.

    The EOC executive committee will select its preferred candidate in the next few months.

    Representatives of the proposed host city will work with the 2019 European Games working group to develop a unique concept. The 20-sports program of next year’s inaugural games in Baku will not be repeated. Instead, the look and feel will be tailored to the host city’s “needs, capabilities and priorities."

    The EOC task force will support the host city in defining the technical, operational, marketing and legacy requirements for the 2019 edition, covering the sports program, transport, venues and the allocation of licensing rights. That European Games concept will be presented to the EOC membership for approval at an Extraordinary General Assembly in Belek, Turkey, in May.

    That gives the host city a four-year preparation timetable.

    The EOC’s bidding process is aligned with the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020 reform proposals, which aim to deliver financially-responsible games that respond to cities’ sporting, social and environmental needs and ambitions.

    Around the Rings exclusively reported in September that increased interest in the 2019 European Games had led the EOC to delay selecting a host, which was scheduled at this week’s AGM in Baku.

    ATR has previously reported that Istanbul and Mersin in Turkey along with Kazan and Sochi in Russia have expressed interest in staging the EOC’s flagship competition.

    The Russian NOC has brought eight officials to this week’s EOC general assembly, the most representatives of any EOC member nation. Turkey has sent a five-member delegation.

    The airport in Baku (ATR)
    EOC president Patrick Hickey said the new timeline for the 2019 host decision would give the Olympic body “the time we need to assess properly which of the six cities is the best fit for the European Games."

    “The process will take slightly longer than we first anticipated, but having six cities on the table is a dilemma we are very happy to have,” he said.

    “We have had to turn away 14 sports from the inaugural edition in Baku, and we are going to be turning away five top-class potential hosts for the second edition – clearly the European Olympic family has a huge amount of enthusiasm for a continental games.”

    Hickey emphasized the benefits of the collaborative process between the proposed host city and the 2019 European Games working group that aims to slash bidding costs and deliver a custom-made event for a host city.

    “We do not want to put cities through a lengthy expensive process,” he said. “We want to focus on flexibility, innovation, sustainability and value for hosts, athletes, fans and commercial partners.”

    Hickey today accompanied the IOC president Thomas Bach at a meeting with the Azerbaijan president Ilham Aliyev. The agenda covered the preparations for the 2015 European Games and ongoing development of Olympic sport in Azerbaijan.

    On Friday, Aliyev, Bach and Hickey will give welcome speeches at the general assembly in the Fairmont Hotel. The IOC chief will receive the EOC Order of Merit Award.

    A venue tour of the Baku 2015 venues is the focal point of the day for the several hundred delegates gathered in the Azerbaijani capital.

    Greek NOC chief Spyros Capralos, head of the EOC coordination commission for Baku 2015, will deliver an update on preparations along with COO Simon Clegg and other officials.

    Progress reports on Rio 2016 and PyeongChang are also on Friday’s agenda.

    Around nine IOC members are in attendance including Russians Vitaly Smirnov and Alexander Zhukov, Ukraine’s Sergey Bubka, Patrick Baumann of Switzerland and Israel’s Alex Gilady.

    Reported by Mark Bisson

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